Students Interested in Pursuing a Dentistry Job Should Look at Dental Therapy
For the third year in a row, dental professionals topped the U.S. News & World Report’s annual list ranking the best jobs of the year, according to ADA News.
Dentists, which ranked No. 2 in 2016’s list, took the No. 1 spot in 2017. It last held the top spot in 2015. Orthodontists, which ranked No. 1 last year, is this year’s fifth best occupation; oral and maxillofacial surgeons rounded up the top 10 with a tie for No. 9.
Occupations are ranked based on U.S. News’ calculated overall score, which combines several components into a single weighted average score between zero and 10. These components are: 10-year growth volume; 10-year growth percentage; median salary; job prospects; employment rate; stress level; and work-life balance.
Dentists scored an overall score of 8.2; orthodontists, 8.1; and oral and maxillofacial surgeon, 7.7.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth of 18 percent between 2014 and 2024, with 23,300 new openings,” according to the U.S. News & World Report. “A comfortable salary, low unemployment rate and agreeable work-life balance boost dentist to a top position on our list of best jobs.”
The magazine also reports that orthodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons are expected to grow by 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, with about 1,500 new job openings for orthodontists and 1,200 new jobs for oral and maxillofacial surgeons.
Not only are thousands of job opportunities opening up, but denticle.com says that of all the health professionals Americans want to see more of, dentists–once again–come out on top.
On the flip-side, dental school is very competitive, and along with finishing your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and complete four or more years of schooling before you can start practicing.
Could you go to school for something else? You may want to look into dental therapy according to drbicuspid.com:
>Americans overwhelmingly support the concept of dental therapists, according to the results of a recent phone survey. Interviewers asked thousands of registered U.S. voters if they would like a new type of midlevel provider similar to a nurse practitioner, and 80% of respondents said yes . . .
Critics are concerned that dental therapists will not provide the same standard of care as a dentist. They also tend to be skeptical that therapists can increase access to dental care or reduce costs.
Meanwhile, proponents of midlevel providers point to evidence that dental therapists effectively reduce untreated caries, not only in the few U.S. states that have approved their use but also abroad. In addition, support for midlevel providers appears to be gaining momentum.
Although there is some natural skepticism about the roles of dental therapists, these professionals are trained to clean teeth, apply sealants, and administer anesthetic. Many of these therapists perform pediatric dental treatments under the supervision of a dentist, while others have a dual license as a hygienist/therapist.
This career option is flexible, less competitive, and helpful in areas where low-income children need affordable dental care. If you aren’t sure which career path you should take, you’ll want to learn more about the education requirements different dental specialties, like pediatric dentistry. You can learn more at lagunavistadental.com/services/general-dentistry/pediatric/